Glasgow ranked among 'best cities in the world' and second in UK

Scotland's largest city has ranked 61st on the list of the World's Best Cities Report.

Glasgow has ranked as one of the best cities in the world, and second in the UK to London, a leading survey has revealed.

The annual World’s Best Cities Report by Resonance Consultancy, advisors in real estate, tourism, and economic development, has seen Scotland’s largest city soar up the rankings to 61st from its 93rd position last year.

Within the UK, Glasgow is the second ranked UK city after London, which came in again as the world’s best city, with Manchester 11 places behind at 72. Liverpool was ranked at 74, Birmingham at 85 and Leeds at 88.

Glasgow was bookended either side in the rankings by Montreal at number 60 and Shanghai at number 62.

The top ten cities were London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Dubai, San Francisco, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Seoul.

Resonance said that Glasgow “powers to its global ranking on the strength of its education, including the planet’s eight most educated citizenry and its 36th ranked university” and that “start-ups hungry for cheap space and talent are drawn to the city’s working-class authenticity”.

Glasgow's iconic Duke of Wellington statue.Getty Images

Glasgow’s music scene and nightlife were also praised, listing it as the world’s 42nd best, and for culture the city ranked 72nd.

In response to praise for the city’s nightlife, Sub Club managing director and chair of the Night Time Industries Association Scotland, Mike Grieve, said: “Glasgow has long enjoyed a reputation around the world for the excellence of its nightlife and live music scene and I’m delighted to see that recognised.

“Late night culture is an important driver of the broader cultural imprint of the city, and the emergence of world class record labels and innovative DJ collectives and music producers in Glasgow since the late 1980s has sustained the provenance of our status as world leaders in club culture.

“The impact this has had on the city is plain to see as Glasgow continues to attract students and creatives from around the world, informing the future pathway to building a 21st century city centre of genuine substance.”

The news has also been welcomed by business chiefs, university leaders and councillors alike.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “In a list dominated by global capitals and long-established A-list urban centres, this is an incredible endorsement for Glasgow. Resonance prides itself on providing investors and visitors with objective rankings which go far beyond the usual surveys on cities. 

“International recognition like this has the potential to be hugely important in the context of Glasgow’s place in a changing international economy. 

“Major investors are making choices factoring in skills, workforces and pipelines of talent, liveability and affordability. The World Cities rankings confirms Glasgow as a genuine global contender, one ready to lure the investment no longer attracted to overpriced capital cities.”

Stuart Patrick, Glasgow chamber of commerce chief executive, said: “It’s pleasing to see Glasgow’s unique attributes recognised by such a robust and comprehensive research consultancy. It really adds credibility to the city’s reputation, which continues to evolve.

View of Kelvingrove Park and the University of Glasgow.iStock

“When we consider the rapid growth of innovation, tech and education here, it’s perhaps not a surprise to locals, but I’m sure our high ranking will catch the attention of new international investors who continue to see the potential in Glasgow.”

The city’s universities have also praised the rankings, highlighting the Glasgow’s “future of vast possibilities”.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde and co-chair of the Glasgow Economic Leadership Board, said: “Glasgow is a city with a rich history, a thriving present, wonderful people. The University of Strathclyde is positioned at the heart of the city and makes a major contribution to its educational, economic and social prosperity.

“Resonance rightly identifies Glasgow as a city where start-up companies can flourish. In particular, Glasgow City Innovation District, of which Strathclyde is the principal driving force, is a place where these businesses have the infrastructure to develop their enterprising ideas to fruition, driven by great talent, access to leading research, an entrepreneurial spirit and a step change in private investment levels.” 

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “I’m delighted to see this result for Glasgow. Our city is home to a variety of talent, with world-leading universities and cutting-edge research and innovation. It’s fantastic to see Glasgow’s education and entrepreneurship offering cited as reasons for its success.

“We are proud of the reputation Glasgow has built, with Universities like ours working closely with the City Government, businesses, stakeholders and most importantly our local communities, to drive inclusive growth in key sectors like life sciences, quantum technologies, MedTech and through cultural and creative economies.”

Describing the reasoning for Glasgow’s ranking, Resonance said: “Glasgow powers to its global ranking on the strength of its education, including the planet’s eight most educated citizenry and its 36th ranked university.

“People not already here are certainly noticing. Tech start-ups hungry for cheap space and talent are drawn to the city’s working-class authenticity over pricier European capitals.

“What they find is a long legacy of homegrown talent, stoked by the eponymous university founded in 1451, the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world.

“Being a university town, Glasgow performs well in our Nightlife subcategory (42nd) and the city roars to prominence at gritty venues like the Sub Club, where live shows dominate.

“Glasgow was designated the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music in 2008 and the need to get back out there makes nights here even more epic of late. It’s impressive 72nd spot in our culture subcategory speaks to this year’s packed events calendar – ranging from the annual Celtic Connections festival to August’s UCI Cycling World Championships, hyped as the largest cycling event in history. Next year’s dance card is fuller still.”

Resonance is a leading international advisor on tourism, real estate and economic development, carrying out consultancy work for cities and national agencies across the world.

Lauded as the world’s most thorough city ranking and based on methodology that analyses key statistics, user-generated reviews, social media and online activity, the rankings quantify and benchmark qualities of place, reputation and competitive identity for major urban centres.

Describing the World’s Best Cities rankings, media giant Bloomberg said: “The most comprehensive study of its kind; it identifies cities that are most desirable for locals, visitors, and businesspeople alike, rather than simply looking at liveability or tourism appeal”.

The full list of the World Best Cities rankings can be found here.

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